Heath Ledger Died of Drug Overdose: Let the Tabloid Coverage Begin
Fortunately, the cable TV channels are pre-occupied today with Super Tuesday coverage and reports of the fatal twisters in the Midwest. But before long, they will turn to the implications of the official report on actor Heath Ledger's death, which unfortunately determined that the 28-year-old star died from the abuse of prescription drugs.
Here's a sample: "Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine," the office said in a statement. "We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications."
Fans have already taken issue with the media frenzy which greeted his death last month, including reports that he died in an apartment filled with prescription drugs. As I pointed out in a column a few days after his death, any indication that he died of personal dysfunction raises the issue of whether news media are unfairly singling out female stars for gossipy coverage and letting the guys slide.
Expect an avalanche of party buddies to fill tabloid TV stories about Ledger's habits, now that the police report has made it easier for news outlets to publish sordid stories about him.
I hope, somewhere in the deluge, an enterprising journalist manages to tell an accurate, insightful story about how a young man who had so much to live for, wound up losing his life in an accidental overdose.